Rugby Union referee Ben O’Keeffe has shared some of the abusive messages he received following the Wallabies’ matchup against Ireland.
The 33-year-old was in charge of a game that was bogged down by penalties that served to slow down the game.
Both sides made 12 penalty infringements, whilst the Wallabies were pinged on four occasions, with Falou Fainga’a handed a yellow card.
Whilst O’Keeffe did make some mistakes, his adjudication was ultimately fair throughout, with Australia’s own lack of discipline costing them the game 13-10.
However, that didn’t stop some rugby union fans from flocking to O’Keeffe’s Instagram DM’s to let loose in some horrific manners.
One message read: “I’m so embarrassed you represent my game, you’re so clueless as to what the rules are.”
Another said: “Mate you’ve had a shocker tonight, hang up the whistle.”
Whilst another called him a ‘disgrace to the game’ and went as far as claiming O’Keeffe had ‘destroyed people’s dreams’.
The referee exposed each messenger’s username and shared the messages to his Instagram story with the hashtag ‘#lovethegame’.
The abuse comes after the Rugby Football Union implored South African Rugby to investigate coach Rassie Erasmus for posts he made on Twitter.
The South African coach received a two-week ban for social media posts following the Springbok's loss to France that saw referee Wayne Barnes and his family received death threats.
Erasmus claimed that his tweets were directed toward the fans and that the allegations that his tweets had led to abuse of match officials was ‘totally unfounded’.
"Match officials are the backbone of the sport and without them there is no game," a World Rugby statement read.
"World Rugby condemns any public criticism of match official selection, performance or integrity, which undermines their role, the trust-based coach/match officials feedback process and the values of integrity, respect, solidarity and discipline that are at the heart of the sport."
Rugby union fans were similarly unhappy with the abuse sent toward O’Keeffe.
Just after seeing the messages Ben O’Keeffe received after the game yesterday.— Couch Referee (@CouchReferee) November 20, 2022
It’s completely unacceptable and that mindset to insult and hurl abuse at officials has been growing with the Rugby community the last few years.
Time to change before something serious happens.
One account tweeted: “If your first thought after a game is to send a referee or player abusive messages you need to take a serious look at yourself.
“It doesn’t make you look big or funny. It’s downright idiotic.”
Another said: “It’s completely unacceptable and that mindset to insult and hurl abuse at officials has been growing with the Rugby community the last few years.
“Time to change before something serious happens.”
A third wrote: “Aside from how obnoxious sending abuse directly to a ref is, Ben O'Keeffe had a perfectly good game yesterday! Not his fault Ireland and Australia seemed to be in a competition to see who could give away the most stupid penalties.”
Featured Image Credit: PA Images / Alamy. PA Images / Alamy.
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